I am constantly surprised by most clients' lack of attention to climate control when planning new office space. Specifically, not understanding or acknowledging that computers and storage systems need 24x7 cooling.
This isn't a new issue; mainframe computers needed large computer rooms with dedicated power and air conditioning systems. While computers have shrunken to slightly oversized pizza-box dimensions, they still need a consistent (cool) environment.
"Hot New Space" shouldn't translate to "Hot Crashing Servers." This issue arises whenever one of my clients starts preparing to move into a new set of offices. Over and over again, I've explained to companies that if they're large enough to warrant a set of computer systems that must stay on 7x24, then they need to acknowledge the need to (a) provide clean power to those systems and (b) keep those systems cool.
The unpleasant truth clients don't want to hear: Overheated computer systems fail faster. A lot faster. When kept properly cool and clean, a new server can easily last five years. When left in an uncooled environment, servers can die in as little as 18 months to two years.
Making a bad matter worse, everyone's data storage needs are expanding rapidly...meaning more disk drives are needed now than ever before. Even with disk drives running smaller and cooler and lower-power than prior generations, manufacturers have compensated by stuffing each chassis with even larger numbers of drive slots. CPUs are more powerful, and generate more heat than prior generations of computers. The result? A potential systems meltdown.
There are no shortcuts. I've tried a few "self contained" air-conditioned racks, all of which have promised to be cheaper than installing a dedicated air-conditioning system. In each case, these racks have only worked to keep everything cool if they've been hooked up by a licensed HVAC contractor to expel warm air to the building's "waste air" ducting system. Thus far, none of the self-contained cabinets have ever proven cheaper than installing a dedicated air conditioning unit.
Air conditioners have also come a long way since the huge units we used to see in computer rooms. The first time I saw a ductless mini unit, I was underwhelmed...until I stepped into the computer room and was shocked to find how cool the room was. Such units tend to be physically small, wall-mounted, and require very little in the way of ducting. The current name for these systems is "ductless mini" air conditioners. The earliest unit I'm aware of was the Panasonic Mr. Slim, but there are probably a dozen different manufacturers at this point. There's nothing weird about these types of cooling systems; you can even find them on Home Depot's website.
Allocate the resources. Use an expert. The important thing for IT is when you're building out a new office space, dedicate a reasonably-sized room that will hold at least one four-post computer equipment rack plus at least 5 feet behind and in front of it, plus at least 3 feet to one side of it. Hire a licensed HVAC contractor to inspect the room and recommend a suitable air conditioner.
You'll need to give your HVAC contractor a tour of your existing IT setup, so he or she can estimate how much of a thermal load your systems will place on a new A/C system.
Computer systems which are kept cool last longer and have fewer failures. A reduced failure rate lets your IT organization perform their jobs more productively and proactively.